Haben Meets Paralympian & Adventurer Aron Anderson

Paralympian, speaker, author, and adventurer. Aron Anderson ( @AronAnderson1 ) is the first wheelchair user to reach the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. And that is just the beginning! He leads groups on adventures around the world, showing people strategies to move through challenges.

Descriptive Transcript

Aron, Haben, and Seeing Eye dog Mylo are at a park. Haben, a Black woman in her thirties with long dark hair, sits on a wooden park bench. Aron, a white man in his thirties with short blond hair, sits in his black metal wheelchair. He has a keyboard on his lap. Haben has a Braille computer on her lap, and whenever Aron types it comes through in Braille for Haben to read.

Haben looks toward the camera.

Haben: Hello, everyone. This is Haben speaking. I’m in Stockholm, Sweden with Aron Anderson. And he’s an athlete who has represented Sweden in the Paralympics.

Haben turns to face Aron.

Haben: Aron, what advice would you have for disabled Americans?

Aron: Ah, great question. I’m… typing and talking at the same time. It’s a bit challenging.

Haben: You can do it!

(Aron laughs).

Aron: The advice I have to everyone with disabilities are to make the most of your situation.

Haben nods.

Aron: We are all good and bad at different things. So, let’s focus on what we can do. Not what we can’t do.

Haben: Brilliant! That’s advice everyone around the world should take home.

Aron: Yeah, I think so. So many people focus on limitations instead of possibilities.

(Aron laughs).

Haben: And your story helps remind people to harness their possibilities. I love that you’ve written a book. I know it’s in Swedish and I hope one day you’ll translate it into English.

Aron: Yeah, I should really translate it… but only Swedish so far.

Haben (VoiceOver): Aron types: You are deaf and blind and went to Harvard Law School. How is that possible?

Haben nods as Aron types his question. A slow smile spreads across her face. She laughs.

Haben: Of course it’s possible. Anything is possible. That’s what you teach. And I also teach that to people. So, most people, first thing they think is my disability, that’s the first thing they notice. But if you take time to reflect, you’ll start thinking about solutions. Can we have touch based solutions? How about Braille computers? How about sign language? And you start brainstorming solutions. So, when I wanted to go to law school, they had never had a Deafblind student at the law school. But we sat down and thought, what are the potential solutions? And we kept trying different solutions until we had a system that worked.

Haben (VoiceOver): Aron types: See the possibilities.

Haben: Yes, see the possibilities. Or if you can’t see, feel the possibilities!

(Aron laughs).

Haben (VoiceOver): Aron types, asking if I see and hear in my inner thoughts.

Haben: My vision and hearing in my dreams and inner thoughts are similar to my experiences in the real world. So, I do have more visual memory though, given that I had more vision when I was younger. So I’m able to draw on some of that memory.

Haben (VoiceOver): Aron types, asking whether I visualize my goals.

Haben: Can I visualize my goals? Hmm, I think not in the visual sense, but in the more dreaming, thinking, feeling sense. So I don’t make a visual board with pictures but it’s more of thoughts and emotions.

Aron: I mean, it’s great to be here and to meet you and see all of the really great things that you do.

Haben: It’s wonderful to meet you, too. Good luck in your kayaking race today!

Aron gives two thumbs-up to the camera, smiling.